In his first book as pontiff, Pope
Francis expands his thinking on homosexuality, saying that gay men
and lesbians are destined to receive God's infinite love.
The 100-page book, titled The Name
Of God Is Mercy, is part of Francis' Holy Year of Mercy.
In the book, Francis is quoted by
Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli as saying that self-righteous
Christians who challenge Jesus' message of unconditional love for the
marginalized are often morally bankrupt.
“These are men who live attached to
the letter of the law but who neglect love; men who only know how to
close doors and draw boundaries,” Francis said.
“We must avoid the attitude of
someone who judges and condemns from the lofty heights of his own
certainty, looking for the splinter in his brother's eye while
remaining unaware of the beam in his own. Let us always remember
that God rejoices more when one sinner returns to the fold than when
99 righteous people have no need of repentance.”
Gay rights groups cheered in 2013 when
Francis answered “Who am I to judge?” to a question about gays.
But conservatives criticized the pope, saying that he neglected to
mention that church teaching holds that gay acts are “intrinsically
to the AP, Francis goes to “some length throughout the text to
cite scripture and previous popes to make clear that his radical
agenda [of treating gays with respect] is fully rooted in the
church's basic teachings.”
“People should not be defined only by
their sexual tendencies: Let us not forget that God loves all his
creatures and we are destined to receive his infinite love,”
Francis said. “I prefer that homosexuals come to confession, that
they stay close to the Lord, and that we pray all together. You can
advise them to pray, show goodwill, show them the way, and accompany
them along it.”